When an Obituary Goes Viral
Harry Stamps never took to Facebook or Twitter. He didn't endlessly cast out gleaming nuggets of snark for the rest of us, or photo albums filled with proudly Instagrammed meals. He didn't share cat photos or videos of face plants. Harry Stamps was old school, living out his life and sharing his very Soul face-to-face, with those whose lives he affected each and every day.
His obituary, however, is entirely another animal to behold.
Harry Stamps of Long Beach, Mississippi, died at the age of 80 on March 9th, causing his daughter, Amanda Lewis, to put to pen and paper exactly what kind of man her father was. What she wrote is a viral masterpiece, shared the world over on Facebook, touching the lives of people who never knew Harry. But now wish they had.
Stamps' obituary has been deemed the "best obit ever" by the Sun-Herald. Not in its sweep, or because it is densely packed with stuffed-shirt accomplishment and reward (he detested people like that). No, the final words of Harry Stamps' life are the best ever, because they are honestly chosen words that lay forth before our eyes a man who beheld a life well lived.
Harry is introduced to us as a "ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler". According to the obit, Harry respected and loved the women in his life, and had his own style sense that evokes memories of my own father, who also shared the time-honored belief that black socks were a match for any pair of shorts.
"Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam's on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap."
Stamps was a localvore with a broad reach, long before any of us cared to look deeper into our farmers' markets. He made a blt sandwich that required a major distribution ring, topped with his favorite arrivals as member of the Bacon of the Month club.Continued on the next page